St John's College Oxford
Reverend Professor William Whyte

Reverend Professor William Whyte FRHistS, FSA

Tutorial Fellow in History Acting President at St John's College


I teach British and European history since about 1660 for both the first year course (Prelims) and papers taken in the second and third years (Finals). For Prelims I also teach Approaches to History and a paper on Europe in the nineteenth century. For Finals I teach Disciplines of History and a further subject on Victorian thought. I also run the special subject on English architecture between 1660 and 1720. At graduate level, I teach courses on the theory and methods of history and on global religious movement in the twentieth century. I also supervise a number of master’s and doctoral students working in areas closely related to my own research.

Research Interests

Like all historians, I am interested in people, but unlike many I am also equally preoccupied by things and places.  I'm especially intrigued by what the serious investigation of the built and natural environment does to existing accounts of modern British and European history.

My research has consequently often focused on architecture, and I have a special interest in institutions like schools, universities, and churches. My first book was on the architect and author T G Jackson, and my second was Redbrick: a social and architectural history of Britain's civic universities. I have also edited or co-edited eight other volumes on architecture, planning, religion, nationalism, and British history more generally.

My project entitled Experiencing the Victorian Church: faith, time, and architecture, was based on my Hensley Henson Lectures, and I am working on a broader study of the university through history. Unlocking the Church: The lost secrets of Victorian sacred space was published by Oxford University Press in October 2017.